The Securities and Exchange Commission filed securities fraud charges against an Austin, Texas investment advisor and two of his businesses alleging he conducted a “multi-million dollar scam” that used former professional football players to promote its offerings.
The SEC alleged that Barton, who is chief executive officer of Triton, instead used the funds to pay day-to-day expenses at Triton Financial and its affiliate. Triton co-sponsors the Heisman Trophy Trust, an organization that annually honors the best player in college football.
Toby Galloway, a regional trial counsel in the SEC's Fort Worth regional office, said that the former players aren’t facing any charges right now, but the SEC continues to “look at everyone involved.” “There is no doubt that having these gridiron greats out there selling these investments certainly played a role in Barton stiff arming money from investors,” he said.
Former Heisman Trophy winners Ty Detmer and Chris Weinke work for Triton along with Jeff Blake, a former NFL quarterback Blake who directs Triton's "athlete services" department, which is a marketing arm for Triton that recruits players as clients.
In March, Sports Illustrated published an article that described how Triton used former football players to promote its business. Following the article, the Texas State Securities Board conducted an examination of the company. According to the SEC’s complaint, Barton and Triton provided the Texas State Securities Board “with altered and fabricated documents during the examination that followed the article’s publication.
The SEC charged Barton and Triton with securities fraud and seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement of illegal gains and financial penalties. The regulator also wants an asset freeze and a receiver over defendants’ assets and operations.
By Matt Ackermann